An Australian study found that homeopathy is not effective in treating medical conditions, but is it dangerous?

With the emergence of new strands of superbugs and the spread of once-contained viruses like the measles, debate is rampant about the best ways to prevent and treat the various illnesses that plague the world. But, while arguments about the necessity of vaccines and antibiotics continue to heat up, a years-long dispute about the effectiveness of homeopathy appears to be coming to a close.

An extensive new study conducted by the top medical research body in Australia found that homeopathy is not effective in treating any condition. In fact, the research showed that homeopathic treatment was no more useful in curing medical conditions than placebos like a sugar pill. So why are insurers subsidizing homeopathic treatments that could potentially yield dangerous results?

According to the Australian Government’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the concept of homeopathy is two-fold, claiming that, “Substances that may cause illness or symptoms in a healthy person can, in very small doses, treat those symptoms in a person who is unwell; and that molecules in highly diluted substances retain a memory of the original substance,” the NHMRC explains.

While the NHMRC findings didn’t disprove the efficacy of homeopathic treatments, the 176 individual studies that were reviewed were shown to be insubstantial in proving any positive results. “For some health conditions, studies reported that homeopathy was not more effective than placebo,” the report said. “For the remaining health conditions it was not possible to make any conclusion about whether homeopathy was effective or not, because there was not enough evidence.”

The NHMRC concluded that people who opt for homeopathic treatment pose a risk to their health and safety, and urged those considering homeopathy to seek advice from a registered health practitioner. They also recommended that patients should not forgo scientifically backed medications and treatments in lieu of homeopathy.

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